Posted in retirement

Debbie’s Retirement Life, Week 4: Day 29, 1/20/23

It’s hard to believe it’s been a month since I retired. This is the last weekly blog post about my post-retirement adventures, but I’ll continue writing them on a monthly basis. Last week ended on a fun note when I attended a Zoom lecture on one of my favorite musical groups, the Bee Gees. It was given by Vinnie Bruno, who also gives in-person and virtual lectures on the Beatles and other sixties and seventies music groups. The Bee Gees lecture was hosted by the Seaford Library and had over 80 attendees. Mr. Bruno’s presentation was both informative and enjoyable. He played songs from the early years of the group, as well as those from Saturday Night Fever and one by Andy Gibb.

Over the Martin Luther King weekend, I did more cleaning and also continued writing the next book in my Buttercup Bend series. I was challenged by my cat, Harry, when I cleaned my closet and by Hermione, when I sat at my computer to write.

On Monday, I went out to lunch with friends at Fanatico’s Italian Restaurant and had a delicious eggplant dish with a salad. Needless to say, I didn’t eat dinner that night.

My friends and I also exchanged late Christmas presents. One gave me an adorable cat tea mug and cat calendar. The other gave me hot chocolate balls and a lavender bath set.

On Tuesday, I spoke with Andrea Parent- Tibbetts from Clover Brooke Farm in Hyde Park via Zoom to research llamas and llama farms. She gave me some interesting information that I’ll be able to use in my forthcoming book, The Case of the Llama Raising Librarian. I’m up to Chapter 5 in the book and, although Cathy and Mildred have arrived at the llama farm where they are investigating a murder incognito, they haven’t yet met Lulu the Llama. The llama’s name was chosen by a reader of my newsletter who submitted it for a contest. Below is an excerpt from the first draft.

“I always wondered what the difference was between alpacas and llamas. Do you know?” Cathy had maneuvered around a red truck, and a barn came into view. It was large and sat next to a pen where she saw several llamas grazing.

“Of course I do. I’m a librarian, Cathy. The main differences are their size and ears. You might consider them cousins. Alpacas are smaller than llamas and have t-shaped ears, while llamas have banana-shaped ears. They’re both gentle and friendly animals.”

“Interesting.” Cathy pulled into a space between the house and the barn. The spots weren’t marked, and the lot wasn’t paved, but there were two cars parked there. A small blue Mazda and a silver station wagon.

Mildred checked her watch. “We’re a little early. We made great time. Maybe you want to walk around with me a bit before we go up to the house.”

“That’s a good idea. I’m eager to see the animals.” Cathy got out, and Mildred joined her. They headed for the barn and the llama pen. As they passed the barn, Cathy exclaimed, “Oh, my gosh! Look, Mildred. Cats! They look just like Harry and Hermione, only older, and the calico one doesn’t have Hermione’s white undercoat and paws.”

“They must be barn cats,” Mildred said. “They usually have them on farms to keep the mice in check. The calico is a tortoiseshell. Notice her brown markings.”

Cathy walked slowly toward the cats. She noticed a gray one behind them. The black cat came right up to her. She extended her hand, and the cat sniffed it. “You look just like my Harry,” she said. “I bet you enjoy living here?”

Mildred laughed. “I love how you talk to animals, Cathy. C’mon, let’s go see the llamas.”

The rest of the week wasn’t as pleasant or productive. My daughter and I both had dentist visits, and I’ll be going to the orthopedic today.

Next week, I’m planning to visit three local bookstores with an author friend.

Thanks for reading about my retirement adventures. I’ll post another in February.

Posted in retirement

Debbie’s Retirement Life, Week 3: Day 22, 1/13/23

During my third week of retirement, I continued decluttering and taking virtual exercise classes, began writing my next Buttercup Bend cozy mystery, had my nails done, went out with a friend to a Luminosity Light Festival, attended a real estate show, had my cats’ nails trimmed, and participated in a library book club discussion.

The virtual library exercise classes I’m taking are working out well. I purchased light, 1 pound weights and a small exercise ball that’s used in a few classes. I’m also getting an exercise mat. My cats were curious about these new items. I’d also gotten a new laundry hamper, and Harry enjoyed trying it out.

I was excited to start my third Buttercup Bend mystery, The Case of the Llama Raising Librarian. Along with Cathy Carter and the returning characters, it features a retired librarian. I wonder where I got that idea.

Last Friday, I had my nails done at Joy Nails, my local nail salon. I chose a glittery silver color that I thought would be nice for winter.

That night, I attended the Luminosity Festival at Eisenhower Park with my friend, Jenny. She took a cute photo of me by the Cheshire Cat in the Alice in Wonderland section of the festival.

On Saturday, I went to the Ideal Living Resort & Retirement Expo at the Huntington Hilton that featured 55+ communities in other states. It was somewhat disappointing because South Carolina and Virginia weren’t present as advertised, and, although representatives from North Carolina were there, they were mostly from Wilmington and the Coast.

On Sunday, the groomer came to give my cats well-needed mani pedis. Hermione suprised me by not even crying when she usually puts up a big fight. Harry, however, wasn’t his docile self. He cried the whole time.

On Wednesday, I went to my library for a book club discussion about The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray. I enjoyed the group and was also able to share my latest books and bookmarks with the members. I’m hoping they will choose one of my books for a future discussion. They’d discussed Sea Scope in the past and seemed interested in Time’s Relative that won the Cat Writers’ Association’s Muse Medallion award this year.

Later today, I’ll be viewing a virtual lecture on one of my past favorite music groups, the Bee Gees. This weekend or on Monday, I’m planning to go to lunch with two friends from church and exchange late Christmas presents. Next week, I’m also viewing a decluttering webinar that may be helpful to me as I continue that household project. I’m also seeing the chiropractor about my knee and possibly getting another cortisone injection. I’ve found that my knees aren’t bothering me as much during the exercises I’ve been doing, but I modify them if they do.

Thanks for reading about my retirement adventures. Next week, I might give you a sneak peek at the first chapter of the rough draft of my new book.

Posted in retirement

Debbie’s Retirement Life, Week 2: Day 15, 1/6/23

During my second week of retirement, I did some decluttering, started some virtual exercise classes, took an online writing webinar, and published my January newsletter.

I sent my January newsletter to subscribers the day before New Year’s Eve. It featured a Llama naming contest, survey contest, a list of my favorite 2022 books, and a few other features. Although only subscribers can enter the contests, you can read the January newsletter here: https://mailchi.mp/e62b71e1c70d/january-news-llama-naming-contest-new-years-survey-and-more

New Year’s Eve was quiet. We toasted 2023 with sparkling cider and ate from a cheese and sausage tray. Even my cat, Hermione, got in the holiday mood.

I enjoyed the virtual exercise classes I took this week. I started with Stay Active, a Nassau Library System health share program on Wednesday, January 4. The class was a mix of aerobics and strength training. The instructor used weights in the second part of the class but said we didn’t have to use them and would still get some benefits. Since I’m not used to working with weights, I chose not to use them. The class wasn’t hard to follow, and I liked the oldies music. That night, I took a Body Sculpting class given by Seaford Library. The instructor, Kristen, was excellent. When she did floor work, I typed into the chat that I have difficulty getting on the floor because of my knees, and she showed me how to moderate those exercises sitting or standing by a chair. She also provided her email if any of the participants had questions for her. I thought that was very nice and look forward to the next class. Her music was also great.

On Thursday, the only virtual exercise class I took was Simply Stronger, given by my library. The instructor, Mindy Vasta, welcomed me and introduced me to the class as the retired librarian who used to organize the exercise programs. It was great to attend the class after having monitored it in the past. I was also happy to hear that a participant has been reading my books. Mindy does a very energetic class with good tunes and lots of strength training. She also used weights in the second half but was careful to instruct people in the proper safety protocols and said I could use weights when I felt I was ready and to start with light ones. Tomorrow, I’ll be taking Tai Chi with Linda Cafiero. I’ve known Linda a long time and look forward to her relaxing class.

Although I haven’t yet started writing the third book of my series as I’d planned, I viewed a Writers’ Digest University publishing webinar given by Jane Friedman that had been a Christmas gift from my husband. The webinar was informative, and I can view the replay and answers to all the questions typed in the chat.

Besides putting away all the Christmas decorations after New Year’s, I’ve also been organizing and decluttering each day. Again, I’m sorry that I don’t have a “before” shot of the coat rack, but it was really a mess before I straightened it out. I even found my husband’s lost hat.

I also decluttered my bedroom wardrobe, removing clothes that are out of season and straightening out the shelves. I also hang my cats’ long toys in there.

In between exercising, cleaning, and housework, I’ve been reading two books on my Kindle app: Cowboys and Chaos, the 3rd book of Elizabeth Pantley’s Magical Mystery Book Club cozy mystery series. Elizabeth is one of my favorite authors, and I featured one of the other books in this series as a 2022 favorite in my January newsletter. In The Magical Mystery Book Club stories members of a book club travel into the cozy mystery books they read. In Cowboys and Chaos, that’s the Wild West! To return to the present, they need to solve the mystery in the book, which is the disappearance of a saloon girl.

I’m also reading The Writing Retreat by Julia Bartz. I’m reviewing this unpublished book through NetGalley. It can be preordered now and will be published on February 21. So far, I’m enjoying it. It’s a mix of horror and psychological fiction about a woman whose been invited by her favorite dark fiction author to attend a writing retreat at her reclusive, and rumored to be haunted, estate along with four other authors, one of whom used to be her best friend until an angry break up.

On Wednesday, I learned that my brother’s daughter gave birth to twin sons. Welcome, Jackson and Maxwell! Congratulations to my niece, her husband, and my brother and sister-in-law on their double blessings.

I didn’t go out much this week except for a walk on Wednesday when the temperatures reached over 60 degrees. I’m planning to have my nails done today and attend a light show with my friend this evening (more on that next week with photos, I promise). Thanks for reading about my retirement adventures.

Posted in retirement

Debbie’s Retirement Life: Week 1, Day 8: 12/30/22

This is the second entry in my retirement column. If you missed the first, you can still read it here.

My first week of retirement after Christmas was quiet. December 24 and 25 were very cold days. We had temperatures in the single digits on Christmas Eve. We didn’t go out because my husband wasn’t feeling well, although he didn’t have COVID or the flu., so it was just the three of us and our cats celebrating the holiday at home.

My daughter made a delicious lasagna that we’re still eating because she froze some. 

Since Tuesday, I’ve had a very stuffy nose but no temperature, and my home test is negative. I think it’s a head cold. I also didn’t go to lunch with my friends as I’d planned because one of them had COVID and is still recovering. We’re rescheduling for later in the month.

Retirement life is an adjustment. A gift I received for Christmas was a To Do Planner, that will be useful with my Google calendar and help me keep a schedule.

 

 

I’ve registered for several virtual library exercise classes hosted by my library and others. I’m hoping to start a new book after New Year’s, but I decided to take a week of rest and enjoy my new freedom. The only work I did these last seven days was organize my desk. I can finally see the top of it that was once covered in papers and other items. I’m sorry I didn’t get a before shot, but here’s the after shot.

I’m still working on my writing files and hope to finish cleaning them out and sorting them by next week. There were some interesting articles and letters in the folders, some going back to the 1990’s. I came across my original Cat Writers’ Association’s application letter from 1995. For privacy, I’ve omitted the return address.

Since I’m always searching for pens, I went through the mugs of pens on my desk and threw out the ones that didn’t work. Amazingly, most of them did. There were even cat and llama-shaped pens and a Nancy Pearl action figure to remind me of my library days. The llama pen will come in handy, inspiring me to write my next cozy mystery, The Case of the Llama Raising Librarian.”

While I was cleaning, my cat, Hermione, found the extra space on my desk and took it as an invitation to jump on it and knock down items.

With my extra time this week, I caught up on my book and magazine reading, took cat naps with my cats, and walked to the library to wish everyone a Happy New Year. I also spent some time adding jewelry to my new jewelry box that I purchased with my retirement gift card. It has lots of space for my earrings, necklaces, rings, and bracelets and looks very nice on my bureau.

Yesterday, my daughter and I made chocolate banana muffins and bread. She’s also on an organizing kick and showed me how to use the No Waste app to keep an inventory of items we have in the pantry and refrigerator, so we don’t buy duplicate groceries or forget to buy something we run out of.

Next week, I’ll be starting a few of the virtual exercise classes I registered for and updating the bio and information on my website and social media. I’ll also be sending out my January author newsletter that will contain character naming and survey contests for readers, as well as a list of my 12 favorite books this past year. To subscribe to Debbie’s Drafts, fill out the form at https://debbiedelouise.com. Have a great New Year!

Posted in retirement

Debbie’s Retirement Life: Day 1: 12/23/22

This is my first blog post about my retirement, which starts today. I’ll be posting updates weekly for a while and then probably on a monthly basis. Yesterday was my last day working full time as a librarian at the Hicksville Public Library. There was a party for me at 3 pm, the usual afternoon break time. My co-workers and two retirees, my previous director and fellow librarian, gathered downstairs in our Community Room that was decorated with balloons and a poster to celebrate my last day. There was also my favorite Black Forest cake, delicious pastries, a card signed by everyone, and several thoughtful gifts.

One question asked at my party was what I was going to do tomorrow. I said that I would wrap Christmas gifts, and I intend to do that. But the real question is, what am I going to do now that I’m retired? I already agreed to do some substitute work for the library as needed and have registered for several virtual library exercise programs. Here is the list I’ve composed of some things I hope to do now that I have the time. These are not necessarily in priority order:

  1. Take virtual library classes and programs and also in-person classes. (I’ve already registered for some and hope to attend the in-person book club in January)
  2. Take writing courses and attend webinars (I’m receiving a Christmas gift of a Writer’s Digest University online course about landing a book deal).
  3. Declutter my house to prepare for my family’s move out of state (I’ve already started this, but I’ll be doing it on a more regular basis. My desk area needs to be cleared asap).
  4. Update website and social media (It’s hard to keep these current when you work full time).
  5. Go through starred Email (I have a habit of starring email and never getting back to reading/dealing with it)
  6. Start Buttercup Bend #3 and plan my future writing (I have an ongoing list of writing projects).
  7. Make a household schedule (Now that I’m home, I’ll be able to do chores at more convenient times).
  8. Read (I have a huge digital TBR list on my Kindle app)
  9. Volunteer at church (I’ve been letting this slide for a long time, and I want to be more involved)
  10. Research ways to save and earn extra money. (This is important when you’re on a fixed income).
  11. Spend more time with friends (although I’m leaving, it won’t be for a while. I already have a lunch planned with some friends next week).
  12. Spend more time with my family, including my cats (This should be at the top of the list).

There are probably many other things I’ll find to do with my extra time, but I need time to relax and enjoy my retirement, too. It’s good to be busy, but it’s also good to take a break. I think I deserve one after 32 years of full-time work.

I look forward to sharing my retirement updates on this blog. If anyone reading this is retired and has some suggestions or experiences they’d like to share, please do.